Freightworks Flexibility at all times

Published: Thursday, September 14, 2017

Freightworks has a customer centric approach, a stable and highly experienced team, across all modes of logistic capability that can deliver excellent service for any requirement, big or small, one off or multiple complex moves.

Its history is as rich as the man who established it— Sir Maurice Flanagan— the founding CEO of Emirates whom the Dubai govern-ment hired and entrusted to help form the airline in 1985 with just US$10 million in startup capital and two leased planes but is today the Middle East’s largest carrier.

Just like Emirates, Freightworks has withstood time since it was formed in 1976, turned into a limited liability corporation in 1996 & a shareholder joint venture in 2000 between Emirates/dnata, the largest supplier of air travels services in the Middle East and Kanoo Group, a diversified business conglomerate mainly engaged in shipping and trading.

“The partnership has developed to meet the ever-growing market demands for freight transportation and help facilitate trading across the region and globally. Our shareholders have provided good support for Freightworks and through this, we have both Emirates Airlines and Kanoo Shipping as key customers,” Sean Bradley, Managing Director of Freightworks, told Air Cargo Update.

“We continue to work with all related companies and will expand beyond the United Arab Emirates whilst developing a larger business in the UAE,” he added.

Seamless integration

In a highly competitive industry like air freight and logistics, experience alone would not sail you that far. It’s a combination of acute business acumen, agility, reputation, technology, knowledge and flexibility to handle any situation that demands skills and good results.

Freightworks has successfully transitioned itself to meet all these challenges, operating in four key areas: supply chain, projects, removals and event logistics.

“We provide seamless integration of various transportation modes such as sea freight, airfreight and road freight, as well as diversified logistics services in warehousing, material handling, packaging, removals and event logistics. Freightworks has a long history of dealing with a wide variety of jobs, locally and globally,” explained Bradley, a veteran in the industry whose career portfolio includes successfully delivering a 30-month long global project for the development and management of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015 in his capacity as Commercial Director for the Official Logistics Supplier.

Over the past four decades, Freightworks had accumulated vast and unique projects spanning across continents.
“We have developed a very strong reputation for the quality of our service. We offer a complete range of transportation & logistics services on a 24/7 basis, providing solutions to our clients and peace of mind. We build strong working relationships through regular face to face meetings, acting and working on our client’s needs,” Bradley proudly says.

For instance, Bradley shared the company was once tasked to ship specially designed furniture from the US and Italy to Qatar “to furnish the Royal Air Terminal in Doha.”

From luxurious furniture, it went on to deliver “king and queen crocodiles from Australia to Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo.”

Then, on to 95×40 trailers from Jebel Ali to Jordan by road on behalf of UNHCR, among other clients; as well as moving Emirates Airlines materials each time it opens a new station anywhere in the world.

“’Big enough to deliver and small enough to care’” comes to mind,” said Bradley when asked about the company’s edge over its competitors. “Freightworks has a customer centric approach, a stable and highly experienced team across all modes of logistic capability that can deliver excellent service for any requirement, big or small, one off or multiple complex moves.”

That dependability and reliability have stuck to Freightworks’ name earning the trust of some of the biggest companies in the region like Dubai Duty Free, Carrefour, Emaar, Landmark Groups, Air France, among others.

“In the retail market, we work with the biggest names in the region such as Emaar, Carrefour, Landmark Groups and Dubai Duty Free. In terms of electronics, we proudly work with the likes of JVC and Samsung and within the aviation sector we work with some of the biggest players such as Emirates Airlines and Air France,” said Bradley.

“Emirates Airline is our biggest client, we warehouse and distribute inflight catering items and beverages for use on-board the aircraft. Freightworks is the preferred company for Emirates Group staff who join or leave the company for the movement of their personal effects worldwide,” he noted.

Investing in the future

Operating across five locations in the UAE, Freightworks is carefully handled by highly-trained 300 plus employees who constantly undergo training and continuing education to keep up with the changing industry trends.

Apart from investing on workforce, the company also puts high stakes on facilities and technology, a boon in this day and age.

“The company’s storage facilities feature the most sophisticated technologies available in the industry and cover a total of 17,000 sq. mtr. We have a large fleet of vehicles of all sizes including temperature controlled trucks, 40 ft. flatbeds, container haulage and roller bed trucks. We invest in new technology to improve our efficiency and provide an ever improving experience to our clients,” said Bradley.

“Staff training is carried out on a consistent basis, is needs based and we apply the usual HR practices to identify skill gaps and appraisals to develop staff for specific roles and succession planning. The key Freightworks premises are audited to the highest international standards for safety and compliance through TAPA and dnata safety groups,” he continued.

Freightworks’ warehouse facilities have 24,900 pallet locations, 19 loading bays, 2,000 sqm area of temperature controlled storage, a bonded customs area and a 5000 sqm lay down yard.

Tough as it may—the company’s team work makes it easier for Freightworks to accomplish its tasks no matter the odds.

“Team work,” Bradley said when asked about the top business philosophy that fuels their success. “Our staff keep Freightworks moving forward, we invest in our employees to ensure they are the best in the business.”

“In addition, despite the volatile environment we strive to be the best we can in the fields we operate in. We take safety, ethics, impartiality and compliance extremely seriously, so that we hit the highest possible global standards, this helps to differentiate us in this highly competitive market.”

Growing market

Despite uncertainties in the Middle East, business analysts continue to see growth in supply and demand in various sectors in the region, particularly in terms of food and technology.

The UAE continues to be the region’s main logistics hub but other GCC countries are fast moving to compete in this area. In the post-oil era, Saudi Arabia is reportedly pumping as much as US$8 billion to build the Prince Abdul Aziz bin Mousaed Economic City, envisioned to be a futuristic warehousing and logistics hub.

Egypt is also beefing up its cargo facilities in anticipation of more business in the region. According to the International Air Transportation Authority (IATA), global cargo demand this year is projected to rise by 7.5 percent to reach 58.2 million tons.

Bradley described the UAE air freight and logistics industry as “Volatile, exciting, ever changing, demanding, extremely competitive, price sensitive.”

But he firmly believes a company that diligently does its part will succeed.
“With tenacity, hard work and consistency, focusing on the client and building an open working relationship, you have the opportunity to create a competitive advantage and develop a good business in the long term,” he said.

When asked about his forecast on the future of the freight and logistics sector in the UAE, Bradley said: “I think that oil and gas related work will remain static for some time, construction, hospitality and tourism sectors will improve in the short term. We are seeing continued investment in the aviation supply chain even though the industry is going through a difficult time so I think that industry will also develop.”

“Airfreight imports, exports and transshipments will remain steady despite cheap rates in some sectors being driven down by integrator freighter pricing, which is driving the 100+kg market down. Finally, I think that supply chain development in the UAE will continue to go from strength to strength, seeing investments by global key players in the market is evidence of the confidence in this market and region,” he further noted.

And just like others in the industry, he has high hopes of welcoming the FIATA Freight Forwarding Congress in the UAE as it hosts the World Expo 2020.

The UAE’s National Association of Freight and Logistics (NAFL) is bidding to host the event for the second time to coincide with Expo 2020, which is expected to generate as much as 20 million tourists until the global event wraps up in April 2021.

“It is testament to the NAFL and the very active current President Nadia Abdul Aziz that such developments are happening. I applaud their efforts and activities. It is a great body to represent our industry. Having the 2020 Congress in the UAE in the year of Expo would be great for the industry and an added bonus for highlighting the attraction of the region to business around the globe,” Bradley concluded.